Community reacts to N. Broadway reconstruction project

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(ABC 6 News) – We’re less than two months out from the end of the first phase of construction on Broadway. For the business owners on the street, however, it’s about business getting back to normal.

"Those that really enjoy coming down broadway and getting to their favorite business along the corridor will be able to enjoy that again," said Tyler Niemeyer, the assistant city engineer. Niemeyer is the project manager looking over the work on Broadway.

By November 19, they’ll have traffic back on Broadway Avenue down to Civic Center Drive. They still plan to start work up again next year in the warmer weather but cars will be allowed on the roads at that time.

"One of the advantages to opening broadway up to traffic through the winter is it makes it a lot easier for us to maintain," Niemeyer said.

As we get closer to November 19, the city will open roadway back up block by block for bicyclists, pedestrians, and finally vehicles. The city also paved a specific bike path next to the sidewalk so that people can bike safely. They said they have the room and they want to encourage bicycling in the city.

"I think all and all north Broadway is gonna have an upgrade that’s been long needed. And we look forward to that being completed as soon as possible," Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said.

Broadway is set to be 100 percent complete a year from now in next September.

They’ve already opened the first couple blocks of the street back up to local traffic. People can now access businesses between 11th St and 13th St off Broadway Avenue.

"And our hope is to continue to open up more and more of that local access as we move along," Niemeyer said.

However, customers feel like they’re fighting for access to the area. Business owners say they’re hurting for business.

"It’s been really tough," said Dan Sweeney, the owner of Great Harvest Bread Company. His sales are down 15 percent.

"It’s actually been worse than covid was last year," he said.

Sweeney tried to keep his customers updated on construction through social media, but he says it’s just not working.

"A lot of people have said that they just are avoiding the whole area until it’s finished. They just don’t want to deal with it," Sweeney said.

He’s asking the city for more communication and clearer plans.

"Instead of shutting down the entire road, maybe just doing it in smaller sections because it has really hurt," he said.

Sweeney said bouncing back after this construction is going to be hard, but he’s hopeful that come November his business will thrive.